I have always been a big fan of Brain Gym kinesiology to prepare our brains, bodies and hearts for learning. I was fortunate to do my practicum with Jeanine Nahas, a Brain Gym consultant and was inspired to learn more. I did my level 1 Brain Gym training, and see the benefits it lends to children in learning environments.
This summer I began doing Yoga, and absolutely love it! The yoga instructor, Tara, at Lotus Village studio, spoke so passionately about her mindfulness lessons and instruction at Deep Cove elementary. I knew I had to start implementing more of this into our daily routine.
First off, I decided to make lavender eye pillows for the children. During the summer I went to IKEA and got fabric squares (for only 4$ for 50) and sewed around the edges to make them into mini eye pillow cases ready to be filled and sewn together by five year olds. We have been busy measuring out flax seed, adding in dried lavender and sewing up the top edge of our pillows. What fun this has been! We are now using the eye pillows during our mindfulness time on our eyes, our bellies, or under our heads.
When we come in from our morning recess, we go to our individual spots (I would love to get yoga mats and cut them in half, but funds are always tricky…if you have an suggestion please let me know) and begin by lying on our backs with our hearts and palms open to the sky. We follow a similar music each day. We have been doing belly breathing once we get started, using a chime to guide our breaths.
Once we are ready we begin with some floor poses, move up to sitting poses, and then finally a standing pose, I have added in our Brain Gym movements here too! After, we go back to the floor into hook ups, and then finally back uncrossed with our hearts and palms open up to the sky.
We end with thinking about what we are grateful for in our hearts. Who we are lucky to spend our days with, who we like to learn with an interact with at school. We then set a goal for ourselves for our day. We have been learning about the Spirit of Alliance animals and this is what we use as the core for our goal setting. For example a child may set a goal to be like the Salmon today because they are working on their journaling and not giving up when it feels challenging, or setting a goal to be like the Wolf today because they are remembering to use kind words with their friends.
We end our mindfulness time with three chimes. The three chimes signal the children to put their eye pillows back the basket, slowly make their way to the carpet and be ready to share their goal, for the day, with our group. We have been using visuals on the wall and at their table spot to keep discussion and thoughts going in regards to their goal they have set. Their name tags have adjustable paper clips to slide to show which animal their goal relates to. We revisit their goals throughout the day in relation to their choices, actions and interactions.
Thanks for reading!